How Ryan Horwath of Sitka Salmon Shares is Bringing Alaska to the Mainland

ryan horwath sitka salmon shares

Ten minutes before my interview with Ryan Horwath of Sitka Salmon Shares, I looked at my list of questions and bolded the one that I felt was most important to a gripping interview:


The fish tube, in case you weren’t on the Internet over the last couple of weeks, is basically what it sounds like: a video of fisherman placing salmon into a giant pneumatic tube that shoots them over a dam, thus shortening their migration from days to minutes. And for whatever reason, it spawned a ton of viral content, as the Internet is wont to do (this version was my favorite).

So, you could say I had some hard-hitting stuff planned.

In all seriousness, I was really excited to talk to Horwath about how Sitka Salmon Shares works to prevent overfishing by connecting Alaskan fishermen to consumers in the mainland. As a member of the board of directors for Sitka Salmon Shares, Horwath knows a ton about the fishing industry and all the sustainability issues that are top-of-mind at the moment; he also serves as the Kodiak Fleet Manager and Western New York Coordinator, and yes, he fishes, too.

Sitka Salmon Shares works similarly to a CSA: members purchase “shares” of a harvest. Those shares then act as preorders, guiding the fishermen and women in how much fish to catch. Because they have prescriptive orders to fill, the fisherfolk can be more discerning with quality, too, leading to a tastier, healthier, ethically-caught fish.

In our interview, Horwath gave me Sustainable Fishing 101, outlining the basics, clueing me in to the difference between wild-caught and farm-raised salmon (and trust me, after hearing his explanation about how color is added to farm-raised salmon you’ll want to commit to wild-caught for LIFE), and why we should all be a little wary of the genetically-engineered salmon that the FDA just approved with minimal labeling.

And yes, Horwath and I do chat briefly about the fish tubes—you’ll have to listen to the end to hear about it.

One last thing before I set you loose to listen to this episode: if you’ve got a killer salmon recipe, Sitka Salmon Shares is hosting their annual recipe contest, and the winner gets an all-expenses paid trip for two to Sitka, Alaska in Spring 2020! More details are right here, but it’s pretty simple—and yours truly will be one of the judges. Show us what you’ve got!

If you feel like you learned something from my conversation with Ryan (or you just want to share your favorite meme version of the fish tube), leave us a rating or a review wherever you get your podcasts, like  iTunes  or Spotify. We’d really appreciate it!

Let us know!


About Kristen Geil

A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Kristen moved to Chicago in 2011 and received her MA in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse from DePaul while trying to maintain her southern accent. Kristen grew up playing sports, and since moving to Chicago, she’s fallen in love with the lakefront running path and the lively group fitness scene. Now, as a currently retired marathoner and sweat junkie, you can usually find her trying new workouts around the city and meticulously crafting Instagram-friendly smoothie bowls. Kristen came on to A Sweat Life full-time in 2018 as Editor-in-Chief, and she spends her days managing writers, building content strategy, and fighting for the Oxford comma.